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After reverses in Syria, Afghanistan, a quest for propaganda equaliser (Comment: Special to IANS)

IANS 

Conspiracy theorists, who prove mostly right in the turvy post-9/11 world, are these days busy switching channels -- Syria, Afghanistan, and, yes, one more theatre which will be in heavy focus in June-July. All these narratives have in them, including, quite surprisingly, where the media will gloat over the humiliation heaped on Russian athletes.

Intelligence agencies in and Moscow, operating under the universal rubric of Deep State, are circling around in the ring, psyching each other. The US, in this game plan, would be developing an offensive posture pushing the Russians on the defensive. Russians are already reeling from the blow administered by the International Olympic Committee: Its athletes have been banned from participating in the Winter being held in

The assumption in is that the West would use all the at its command to rub Putin's nose in the mud on the occasion of the World Cup being hosted in June-July 2018.

As prepares to cope with the World Cup-related security challenges, one image will certainly cross his mind: The furtive visit of to the Kremlin on the eve of the February 2014 Sochi Winter

Bandar offered the "moon" if only the Russian strongman would persuade to vacate the in Among the gifts he offered was a "terror free" Sochi

Why did the Western media ignore the incredible Bandar story? Because ever since the Russians had their boots on the ground in from 2015, they have had a ringside seat on the barely disguised drama of Americans supplying arms to various groups fighting None of these stories would have been flattering to the US, including the one about Bandar, George W. Bush's sidekick. So the mainstream media, as part of the establishment, had to look the other way.

The rules of the game, according to Russian and Turkish sources, were simple: Groups battling under American guidance would be described as "freedom fighters"; those not serving American interests were ISIS, Jabhat al Nusra, Al Qaeda. They, each one of them, could change their labels, depending on the dynamics on the ground. The Russians had video evidence on all of this. The Turks too are in the know, first as participants in the battle against and later fighting the YPG, the group which has adopted a Syrian name -- Syrian Democratic Forces.

The Turks consider PKK as their existential enemy. The PKK is a "terrorist organisation" by the UN's definition. By Turkish definition the is PKK with another name. This "other name", Syrian Democratic Forces, is a sleight of hand without which the US cannot help YPG/SDF. Their original name has the label "terrorist group" attached to it.

The Turks have told the US that their operation against the in Afrin will continue so long as "one terrorist" remains in the territory contiguous with The situation has brought Turkey, and on the same side. Much to the chagrin of the US, the Syrian Democratic Forces too are reaching out to in their desperation. Newspapers supporting Erdogan are, in deference to the situation, recommending an Ankara-rapprochement if not specifically an Erdogan-handshake. An isolated US therefore faces and its cohorts in The situation is fraught.

Even in the Afghan theatre, the US is not smelling of roses. Russia's told the impressive gathering at the Raisina Dialogue in recently something of abiding interest to the region: IS fighters were being flown to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, told the Friday congregation on January 30: "The US goal of transferring terrorists to is aimed at creating a justification for its continued deployment in the region."

Pundits took no note of an outrageous proposal for which was under "active consideration of the White House" for weeks last year. Erik Prince, of the world's biggest supplier of mercenary troops, Blackwater, had submitted details on how can be most effectively administered: "Exactly as the Viceroy administered when it was a British colony." The very fact that such a proposal reached the highest echelons of American decision making clearly beamed searchlights deep into the caverns of the American mind.

The IS as a is not a new concept. I have been writing about it at least since admitted as much to of in August 2014. Friedman asked why did not bomb IS as soon as it reared its head.

"That would have taken the pressure off Nouri al Maliki", replied. What clearer admission could one seek from a US that the IS was an asset at that stage. Iraq's Shia was eventually forced out.

After reverses suffered by the IS at Russian hands, there were several reports of IS given safe passage, even air lifted. In October 2017, Robert Fisk, of the Independent, described how hundreds of IS fighters in Raqqa had been given safe passage "to go where they like".

has an interesting take on IS being transferred to Afghanistan: These are "upgraded" after a stint of "Jihad" in The wide disparity in the wages of the regular Afghan and those trained in has provoked the home grown to teach American and their "lackeys" a lesson -- hence the spike in violence. Note American isolation in too. Aggressive retaliatory posturing by would bring and into an even tighter embrace. Interesting Times, as the Chinese proverb says.

(is a on political and diplomatic affairs. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached on saeednaqvi@hotmail.com)

--IANS

naqvi/mr/sac

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, February 10 2018. 11:30 IST
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